Lucas Neill wary of Welsh threat

Lucas Neill has warned Australia not to take Wales lightly despite their lowly world ranking when the two nations meet for the first time in a friendly on Wednesday.

A cheeky Neill..

Wales are jointly ranked 112 in the world, alongside the Faroe Islands, and have lost all four of their Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Wales manager Gary Speed has also managed just one success in his four matches in charge, but despite that Neill is wary of their hosts who will field arguably their strongest line-up under their new boss.

Where Wales have been beset by players pulling out of squads in the past, this time around they will boast a near full-strength line-up with the likes of Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy set to start at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Neill is therefore taking no notice of the FIFA rankings - which rate the Socceroos as the world's 23rd best team - in what will be the Antipodeans' final warm-up before their opening World Cup qualifier against Thailand in Brisbane next month.

"It is very surprising that they are ranked in triple figures," said former West Ham and Blackburn defender Neill.

"You look at someone like Gareth Bale - he's a fantastic player. He took some accolades away at the end of last season. They have a fantastic team all round.

"I have a lot of respect for Craig (Bellamy). I've played with him at two clubs now and I know he is a threat.

"I know them to play with and to play against - of course the respect is there.

"With such a good team we know it is going to be a great test for us especially early in the season when everyone is fresh and raring to get some game time.

"It's a fantastic game for everybody to prepare for their World Cup qualifiers."

Neill will lead out the Socceroos in his 73rd international despite having not yet found a new club.

The 34-year-old revealed, however, he expected to announce his new home in the "next 48 hours" and is confident he is fit enough to play out the 90 minutes.

Boss Holger Osieck overlooked fellow veteran Harry Kewell as he looks to sew up a move back to Australia, but Neill revealed he had embarked on a boot camp in Milan in the past month to ensure he was fit enough to take his place.

"I did some extensive training in the Institute of Sport in Milan," he said.

"For a couple of weeks I locked myself into a boot camp. I've been training to a programme now for well over a month.

"I'm confident that I have the fitness levels to get through the game. Match fitness of course won't be ideal for me, but I'm confident enough and I'm glad that the manager's given me that confidence."

Australia's German boss Osieck has routinely opted for his best available XI since taking over after the World Cup and is set to do so again.

That will mean a return for Tim Cahill, who missed Australia's last venture to Europe - a 2-1 win over Germany in March - although playmaker Brett Holman is sidelined after suffering a groin injury in AZ Alkmaar's 3-1 win over PSV Eindhoven on Sunday.

Holman's absence is likely to give Bristol City's Neil Kilkenny a rare start and the chance to push his claims for the World Cup qualifiers, while either Scott MacDonald - who is yet to score in 24 appearances - or Robbie Kruse will start alongside Cahill.

"Considering our schedule and the upcoming qualifying campaign it is my final opportunity to have the boys together," he said.

"It will be a test against a pretty decent team. I rate Wales very highly.

"I have to decide on who will play up front alongside Tim. But MacDonald or Kruse will get some decent playing time."



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